Is anyone else reading Christy Harrison’s new book Anti-Diet? I’m really enjoying it, especially the history of diet culture part.
I was wondering if this book is being discussed. Haven’t purchased it yet but I’m planning on using one of my numerous Audible credits on this one. I think her voice is really interesting so I think this will be a good listen.
I'll add that discussions of food/weight/diet are often exactly like religion and politics. It's due to the human ego, which is our identity, the labels we give ourselves, how we see ourselves, how we separate ourselves from others (wife, mother, athlete, student, intuitive eater, disordered eater, liberal, conservative, fat, thin, on and on). It's basically having a bunch of thoughts and it feeling like that the collection of thoughts ARE you. We all seem to be hardwired that way. It's what the human mind does. When people agree with our point of view, our ego is strengthened and we feel safe and validated. When someone else questions us or disagrees, it doesn't feel neutral. That jolt of emotion is because it feels like they're attacking who you are, like your whole identity is at stake, which is why people lose their minds talking about certain issues.
It gets interesting when you're not believing your thoughts anymore, not identifying with them so strongly. Suddenly it's, "I have this thought" not "I am this thought." It's the difference between "I'm feeling bad right now." and "I am bad." Then you begin to see it in others and have compassion for them too. People who identify really strongly with their thoughts and can't take a step back suffer tremendously.
You can't stop the thoughts from coming, but the fun part is that you can choose how to engage with them. Your ego can go right on spinning an identity for you, and you can just notice when it gets riled up rather than having your day ruled by whatever it has created.
I replied in Melissa's journal.
I know your posts are in answer to what I wrote in my journal, and that's totally ok. I say this in jest (I know sometimes it's hard when you're reading something as opposed to hearing it in person) but I sort of feel like this discussion is like religion or politics - maybe we won't be swayed either way and we (or I) accept whatever it is we believe and think. I'm not here to judge anyone for thinking or believing anything. My whole goal is to read, learn, and absorb whatever I can so that I can be the best, healthiest version of me.
This Facebook post by Christy Harrison really resonated with me
I just wrote an entire novel of a response to @Hayley in her journal. I guess I'll paste it here too for non-members who can't see the journals.
That good/bad, right/wrong, black/white thinking is a bear trap isn't it? Here you are doing so much better, but still very worried that you're wrong, or other people are wrong, or what's right. Like if you can't sort out that right/wrong thing, you can't trust anyone, can't proceed. That's just your eating disorder tossing up red flags and road blocks, as it does. "Be careful! Don't believe it! It can't work for you! You're different! What if they're wrong?!" That's a perfectionist restrict-o-brain coping mechanism. It's fear. It's not actually a case of there being a right or wrong way to take great care of yourself. Here's the thing. None of those people you mentioned get to decide how you eat. Looking to any of them for THE answer is just as crazy as looking to a diet book. They don't know. They're not there with you after dinner dictating your actions, or they shouldn't be. You can relax. You don't have to force feed yourself to please Tabitha, or go all in like Stephanie, or become a plus size model like some Instagram influencer. The entire point of recovery is learning to trust yourself, not letting all those outside voices override what is best for you in that moment. The thing is, "what's best" changes. Early in recovery when we're suffering the consequences of restriction and malnutrition, eating enough not to die is top priority. At some point appetite does tend to settle down. Eating becomes more calm and predictable, less extreme. We eat meals, we feel satisfied, and the extreme hunger fades. The mental hunger is more like, "Mmmm, ice cream sounds good." But then we see something shiny and forget to eat it, or no longer want it, and it's ok because we can enjoy ice cream any time. Feeling more casual about it becomes possible when we're not starving anymore. That's ok. That's normal. That's "Oooh, I want oatmeal. Oatmeal sounds good." followed by life happening and oatmeal being forgotten for now. I assure you that no crime has been committed here. You can have oatmeal again whenever. Let me give you an example. I watch television for a living. I see pizza commercial, after sandwich commercial, after ice cream commercial. All day long my brain is going, "Yum! Look at that! That sounds good! Oooh, one of those!" Do I go out and buy it all and eat it now because I learned about mental hunger on a Tabitha Farrar podcast? No. What I eat is none of Tabitha Farrar's damn business, first of all. Second, nobody knows my body or needs better than I do. All the TV food will be more exciting if I've missed a meal or I'm stressed or something. On a day when I'm well fed, I might not even notice it. Or I might buy and enjoy something I saw on TV four days later when I'm at the store. Or I might be reminded by the double cheese, stuffed crust, whatever-it-is, that it's time to eat my own dinner that I brought from home. But I let my own body and brain dictate my actions, not the television, YouTube, or Instagram. My weight, like my eating, is nobody else's business. If I'm taking great care of myself, it's not even my business. I just keep taking great care of myself and eating to feel mentally and physically awesome, and my body does what it's going to do with my weight. Coming right out of seriously disordered eating, my weight shot up like rocket, as it clearly needed to do to repair all the damage I'd done to myself. It's not just how we've eaten today, or this week, or this month. Sometimes there are years of energy debt to be repaid. Your body needs all that food to get out of the hole. For me personally, that stage where I gained a lot of weight quickly didn't last indefinitely. It wasn't my new set point. It was where I needed to be at the time. As more time passed and things settled down, so did my appetite. I couldn't possibly keep eating enough to sustain the weight that I hit in the immediate aftermath of my eating disorder. I've never seen either that weight or my lowest eating disorder weight again. My body picked a comfortable spot in the middle of the two. It's sustainable without either dieting or force feeding. It's not dependent on exercise. It just what happens if I go about my business and don't give food or weight too much thought. That, to me, is the goal. I do my own thing that makes me happy, and it doesn't matter what other people do, or say, or think. I don't worry that I'm doing something wrong in their eyes if I eat a salad, or lift a weight, or have more cookies, or take a nap. Any of those can be perfectly appropriate. What I'm not doing anymore is fixating on how I look and trying to manipulate my food intake to change my appearance. That's a minefield. My appearance is the result of my behaviors, and my behaviors consist of what brings me joy, what creates mental and physical happiness. I like to move. I like to eat nutritious food. I also like to skip workouts, take naps, and eat cookies. Thank God I don't have to choose between them, right? Peace is in the middle. It's never the black and white extremes.
I'm so happy this thread was started! I'm a little more than halfway through the book and loving it, although sometimes I feel like she carries on a bit too much with percentages and studies (my mind tends to wander through that stuff, although it's interesting to finally see/read the data backed up).
I was going to write a bit about this in my journal, but I'll share some thoughts on here, too. While I LOVE this book and wish I could shout from the rooftops how important it is for people to disassociate weight with health, I sometimes feel like this anti-diet culture is so opposed to anyone wanting to look/appear/feel a certain way. I don't dispute the idea that wanting to weigh below your body's set point is very difficult without an immense amount of control, but just like I don't pass judgment on those larger than me (or I try not to), I feel like it's unfair for someone to pass judgment on me for wanting to fit comfortably into my clothes, look "good" (according to my standards, not anyone else's). I don't know if that makes sense - I am at the point where I'm really trying my best not to fight where my body wants to be - I'm trying hard to feed it when it's hungry, honor cravings, aaccept my size and figure out whatever my set point weight is through nourishing and treating myself with kindness, but why does it feel so WRONG, when I read recovery sites on IG, to want to look athletic? Maybe I should finish this in my journal...
Her definition of diet culture is really good, I think because we don’t often see it named like this. It just...is. We’re so immersed in it that we don’t recognize it or question it. —- Diet culture—a system of beliefs that equates thinness, muscularity, and particular body shapes with health and moral virtue; promotes weight loss and body reshaping as a means of attaining higher status; demonizes certain foods and food groups while elevating others; and oppresses people who don’t match its supposed picture of “health.” By and large, Western culture is diet culture. This way of thinking about food and bodies is so embedded in the fabric of our society, in so many different forms, that it can be hard to recognize. It masquerades as health, wellness, and fitness. It cloaks itself as connection.
I forgot this was out! I just downloaded a kindle sample. I would love to hear your thoughts if anything jumps out at you as you’re reading.